tv Charlie Rose WHUT November 19, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST
>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight, a look at the auto bill industry, the global automobile industry with the c.e.o. of neeson and renault, carlos ghosn. >> i cannot tell you if nissan ten years down the road is going to be a great company. we're going to have to earn it on a daily basis but in our industry, competition is so strong. so i don't think you can say, you know, we're going to be great in one or two years down the road. you want to make sure that you put a lot of products on the market and keep your eyes on the ball. >> rose: we continue with nicholas kristof and sheryl wu dune, they make the argument that the most important idea today is about women, violence against women and opportunities for women. >> sheryl and i came to see that if you want to fight poverty, if
you want to fight extremism, then the most effective try do that is to educate girls, give them skills, bring them into the formal labor force, whether in china and bangladesh and other countries that has been the way to really develop economies more quickly and to make societys work better slchlt >> we started realizing that soft power is just soft power. it actually gives you dividends. so if you look at china, for instance, my grandmother's feet were bound. in three generations, look at me i'm so glad my feet aren't bound but we've just come such a listening way. that's because what china did was not only educate it had people, they said everybody can get educated including girls. >> rose: the future profile of cars and the driving idea of women in the 21st century when we continue.
>> rose: carlos ghosn in here. he's c.e.o. of both nissan and renault, an alliance that many consider the most powerful in the automobile industry. he took control of nissan in 2001 and lead remarkable turnaround. four years later, he was named c.e.o. of renault and he began splitting his time between
france and japan. the two companies today ktd for about 10% of auto sales in the world. he leads the companies at a time of great change as the auto industry weather it is economic crisis and cutbacks on carbon emissions. last week, nissan unveiled an electric car called the leaf to an american audience. the vehicle is a first step? a goal to have electric cars make up 20% of nissan and renault sales by 2020. i am pleased to have carlos ghosn on this program for the first time after trying for a long time. welcome, great to have you here. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: first, the economic recovery. you see it from europe, you see it from the united states and you see it from asia. tell me what you see. >> well, i see a very different situation. in europe there is no recovery and i think 2010's going to be a mediocre year in europe. same thing in japan. we don't see any recovery. we see resistance to the decline but no recovery. in the united states, things look more promising for the short term.
you know, after a very large chop in the economy and particularly in the automobile industry. >> rose: but generally those impressions you just said are about the economy overall. >> yeah, but the economy overall we see slight growth in 2010. but a situation very different from one country to the other. >> rose: at what point in an economic recovery do consumers think about automobiles? >> well, you know, it depends where the consumer is. if he's in china or in brazil or india, he's thinking all the time about automobiles. what's the best opportunity? what's the best deal? and we're seeing these sales booming all the time. you know, no matter what. now, in that time, you have an increase of 5% or 10%, and in the good times, it's 20% to 30%. the situation is different in developed countries where for the moment we see decline. >> rose: tell me how you see the electric car in the mix of products that you're going to offer to consumers. >> well, we're going to have a... you know, this is going to
be an important part of the market, but the importance of an electric car is going to grow slowly. what you project is that in ten years down the road, it will represent 10% of the sales of new cars. so we're going to have a gradual increase, patient, slow, depending... starting in developed countries and then going into developing countries. i don't think it's going to take the market by storm, because you need a lot of capacity, you need to have the consumers start to get used to it. but without any doubt, it's going to be a big factor in our industry. >> rose: and what will the other 90% will b? combinations? >> exactly. you're going to have a mix of gasoline engine, diesels, flex fuel which means a mixture with ethanol. you're going to have hybrids. all these technologies will continue to be in the market. >> rose: what is it about this business that was interesting and surprising to you? because there's a romance about it.
>> well, you know, it's... the car is an emotional product. it's an emotional product. you like the car... it doesn't look like a refrigerator. it's more like a pet. all the members of the family participate into the decision. you remember your first car, you choose a brand, you choose a color. >> rose: and you identify with certain events in your life. >> exactly. so the car is something between the object and the pet. >> rose: right. >> so it's very important. and near the emotional side of the car you have also the very rational part of what is cost, what is quality, what is a liability, what are the functionality of the car? so what's fascinating about the product is you have to plan a product which responds to the rational aspiration of people, but at the same time with a very big part, which is emotional. the design, the color, the brand the name. people need to dream about the car, but at the same time they
need to look at the car as a very rational... >> rose: your success at nissan first. when you saw what you had to do at nissan, what was it? what do you do when you take a brand and you know you've got to fix it? how do you go about it? what's the managerial process? >> well, first, you know, i had to do this in a country which was totally foreign to me and in a language and a culture that i was not accustomed to. i went to japan in 1999 and i had about three months with the people of nissan to try to come up with a plan. in this case, you need to know that nothing mattered but revive the company. that's the only goal you have. >> rose: and you came from renault. >> that's right. i was coming from france, from renault. and i need do that. so the first thing is making sure that you make a very good diagnosis of the situation. that's the most important thing. very lucid, very factual, very objective. no emotion in it. and then you establish a real
objective that people share into it. and th whatever... if you do that, femme f people share with you the diagnosis, then this situation becomes much easier into deploying all the action plans in order to reach them. >> rose: okay. but then talk to me about engineering versus design. >> well, you see,esign... the design is something which is in a certain way appealing to trends, shapes, it's more near an art than a science. even though you have a lot of tools trying to make the design a little bit more specific. but at the end of the day. our designers are people who are more appealing to their inspiration, to feel the trends of the different markets where you have to go. your engineers are here to make sure that, you know, your product is more efficient, quicker, lighter. >> rose: but i'm told today that they are talking to each other
now more than they ever have. designers and engineers. >> they have to. they have to. >> rose: because? >> they have to. >> rose: because you want functionality to be measured with performance? >> because they're appealing... they are working on two different levels. you know, again, the designers have to make the car attractive. and the engineers have to make it absolutely indispensable from the rational point of view. and they have to work together because if one dominates the other, if your designer dominates the engineers, you end up having a very emotional car but which has problems of quality and problems of functionality. if you let the engineers dominate, you're going to have very boring cars but who are absolutely reliable. so you need both of them to work together so we appeal to both sides. >> rose: you did a turnaround that some people call the most remarkable turnaround in the automobile industry, which there have been many. a look at chrysler, what lee did ther and there have been others. fiat is a perfect example of where there's been a significant
turnaround. the turnaround... what do all those share? >> well, you know, the most... before the product, what's very important when you turn around the situation is to bring back confidence of people inside the company. because usually you turn around the situation which is a situation which is very bad. >> rose: did you have to change the culture of nissan? >> sure, you have to change the culture. >> rose: what was wrong with the culture? they didn't think they were good? >> no, i think that everybody knew exactly what has to be done but nothing happened. you know, nothing happened. that's often what you find in the situation of turnaround is the company is in decline, a lot of people know exactly what needs to be fixed but nothing happens. so you need to align people on a plan that corresponds to what people know has to happen. and, you know, this process of alignment of people, establishing division, putting in the diagnosis, making sure you have priorities andoving people in the same direction is part of a turnaround. now, from time to time it takes an outsider to do it.
from time to time it takes somebody to... from the company to do it. you know, in my case, i was a perfect outsider because i was not japanese, i was coming from another company and i have a very short period of time to devise a plan and to beat the drums for everybody to follow. >> rose: and how did you put together the merger with renault? >> well, the alliance with renault... it's not a merger. >> rose: i mean alliance. >> this was different from everything else happening in the industry because the two companies ten years after keep their own identity. one is headquartered in paris, the other in japan. >> rose: but you share. >> we share a lot of platforms. we share a lot of services. we have a lot of back offices together. from time to time we share plans but never the designs, never the show room, never everything that consumers consider very important for them. because they want to make sure when they buy a renault it's a completely different car from nissan. >> rose: when you look at what's happened to toyota, what's your analysis of what's happened to toyota?
>> frankly, nothing more or less than what happened to all the industry. you know, what happened one year ago, what happed one year ago is all of a sudden you have the financial meltdown and the car makers have been very affected by it because car makers use a lot of cash. >> rose: right. >> so we all found ourselves in a situation where cash was frozen, the banks did not work anymore. >> rose: there's no credit. >> and we were all in a situation of difficulty. now, the companies which were weak, well, they found themselves practically collapsing. and the companies wch were strong have been weakened. and i don't think we can say that one particular car manufacturer suffered more than others. we are fall a situation of recovery now, but we all faced a very tough time. >> rose: but has the industry and have you specifically learned any significant lessons? >> yeah. >> rose: and what are they? >> well, again, the first and most important thing is you need to make sure that your needs in
cash can be met. so, you know, we're running with a much lower level of inventory. we're much more cautious on investments. we have reduced massively our costs. >> rose: including research and development and product development. >> we're being much more selective on the project that we are developing. >> rose: there a... i mean, has everybody come to this idea that fuel efficiency is going to be... it's not auestion of going back and forth from now on fuel efficiency will be a primary principle of the development of cars? >> i so. i think everybody, all car manufacturers. now, we're not doing it the same way. we're not doing it through the same technology but everybody's moving in the same direction. you're going to see much more fuel efficient cars in the future. >> rose: with respect to emotion standards, what's going to happen with respect to emission standards. >> oh, they're going to become stricter and stricter and not only in the united states, everywhere in the world. you're going to see... and the evolution is going to go by
leaps, it's not going to be an evolutionary thing. we're going to see from time to time standards in terms of emissions which are going to be much tougher all of a sudden. so we all have to be prepared to face these challenges. >> rose: in india there's a $2,500 car, tata has created a $2,500 car for that market primarily. are you trying to build a car that that's inexpensive? >> we do. we know that we cannot do it. nissan cannot do it alone, renault cannot do it alone, we cannot do it together. because if you're based in paris or tokyo, it's very difficult to imagine a car which is going to cost $2,500 or be priced $2,500. you have to do it within india. >> rose: so it's the only market you can serve and build because of the labor costs or something else? >> because of labor costs, because also of something which is very specific to india which is that they are very good at what i call frugal engineering and frugal product planning.
indian people know how to do a lot of things with very little amount of resources. we don't know how to do it in japan. we don't know how to do it in france. we don't know how to do hit in the united states. they know how to do it. that's why we partnered with the indian three wheeled and two wheeled maker. we partnered with this company and together we're coming with a $2,500 to $3,000 car. >> rose: are you surprised ford did well enough and had set up its capital structure sufficiently so that it would not be in dangered like general motors and chrysler were? >> no, i'm not surprised. >> rose: but that's management leadership? is that what it is in? and smart people who made a decision that we better get our capital? >> a lot of things contributed to it. some of it is what you mentioned. but, you know, it's always been a very focused and disciplined company. >> rose: in your opinion a meeting this week, was it? this week about trying to get government support for the electrification of cars. why do you need government support?
>> you know, when infrastructure is involved, you need government support. because in a certain way, government always somehow responsible of building the infrastructure or putting an incenfrastructure. and in the case of the development of electrical infrastructure, you need support from the government. you need government to put the laws or to put the regulation or from time to time to put even the money, the incentive. >> rose: my understanding is that it is all of those. that it includes the money. basically you're saying that in order to have the electrification... the electric car have its full potential, you've got to have a significant government commitment. >> yes. but, you see, the point is that from time to time, this kind of interventions are costs, from time to time they are investments. so what we're saying is in the case of electrification of america, and other countries in the world, it's more an investment. because, you know, when
countries say we want to reduce our dependence on oil, when countries say we need to make sure that we're bringing the right measures in order fight climate change or, you know, emissions... green gas emissions and you bring solution which is can correspond to both, that means reducing dependence on oil and at the same time limiting the emissions of c.o. 2, it's normal that you say okay, that's what we need in order to make this happen. and that's what the electrification coalition has been very clearly asking for. >> rose: i mean, it was fred smith at fedex, it was you, who else was there? >> oh, there were about seven other... >> rose: members of... >> members of the coalition. you have utility companies, you have people who are working as suppliers of the autoindustry. battery makers. you know, different partners from different fields of industry. >> rose: speak to the battery question. where are we in terms of battery technology? who's going to pave the way for
the battery of the future? >> well, i think the batteries are ready today. >> rose: are they really. >> they're ready today for what the consumer needs. it doesn't mean we're going to be stopping there. you're going to have a second wave or third wave of batteries coming. why? because the battery for the electric cars coming to the market are about 200 kilograms. you know, they're bulky, they're heavy but still you're going to have very good performance on the car. but we'll still continue to work in order to make it... >> rose: are they all lithium based? >> lithium ion. that's the most current. that's the most actual and the most effective technology for the moment. >> rose: now, will there ever be a circumstance in which all the car companies will get togethe and say, look, we've got certain technological hurdles here and not one company can figure it all out so why don't we create some kind of consortium to do the kind of basic fundamental physics in order to find the battery of the future. >> very unlikely. very unlikely. (laughs) >> rose: nobody would trust
anybody. >> because competition is such between car makers, not only in the united states but globally, that you may have one or two car makers agreeing together or cooperating on one specific field. but i doubt that on a technology like this, which is extremely important, the zero emission cars, you're going to have a full-fledged collaboration between all the competitors. >> rose: my impression is and i think american impression is that there are more restrictions on americans' entry into other markets than there is on, say, japanese entry into the american market. fair? not fair? ining a senate true? partially true? >> i wouldn't say fair trade is a... an open practice and everywhere. >> rose: you wouldn't they? >> i wouldn't say that. there are some markets which are more closed than other but the trend is towards opening up of the markets. i am absolutely convinced that, you know, in the next five to ten years, all the major markets in the world, car markets, will
be open. look at the chinese market which is opening up and the indian markets opening up. these the market which is count for the future because the growing markets of the future. i mean, we are surely... slowly but surely going into the direction of opening up the markets. >> rose: but my impression then, if that's the truth, if india and china... you're going to be designing most of your cars that will appeal to that market, which is a different kind of car that's going to appeal to an american market or european market? >> the designs are going to be different. >> rose: but the performance? >> the platforms are going to be common, the engines are going to be common. >> rose: because of cost efficiency? >> cost efficiency. and at the end of the day consumers have the same taste in terms of technology. they may have completely different tastes in terms of colors, materials, designs, functionalitys into the car but whatever it comes to engine, to transmission, it's about the same. >> rose: let me talk about a company that you once cast a loving eye at. (laughs) general motors.
you thought you could pull that off? >> you know, when the lines between renault... alliance between renault and nissan happened, people said "how are you going to make this happen?" this is not a merger, how are you going to make it happen? it worked very well. it worked very well based on the fact that the two companies came together, they said we're going to share certain things but w want to remain different. we want to remain with our own identity. it was based on willingness from both parties to cooperate. >> rose: but couldn't you have a financial integration and still maintain separate identities? >> yes. >> rose: okay. because i assume chrysler and fiat will do that. i mean, there's some advantage in terms of sales for chrysler to maintain its entity and its separateness even though it's now owned by fiat. >> but i think it's very difficult to do it if you own completely another company. in the case of renault and nissan, nobody owns the other... renault owned more than 40% of nissan, now nissan owns 15% of renault. and we kept things separate.
my basic... i don't believe in two... into going to another partner in a way where one feels threatened by this approach. 23 f the threat is here, it's not going to work. it has to be based on mutual consent, on rational approach that, yes, we can do together much more and much faster than each one alone. >> rose: okay, so... >> let me give you the example of the electric car. the electric car... we would not have been able to launch a an electric far nissan was alone or renault was alone. we combined our efforts and put together research and development and a lot of technology that we are capable now to bring full electric cars for renault and full electric cars for nissan. completely different but with the same technology. no... i mean, we invested... >> rose: competing in the same markets? >> no, because... >> rose: renault is europe... >> exactly. nissan is launching the cars mainly in japan and in the united states and going out to
asia while renault is concentrating in europe. >> rose: so nissan has no strong marketing effort directed at europe? >> we have some marketing efforts but we recognize the fact that, you know, ren snow a much bigger player in europe and in a certain way renault takes the premise in europe. while nissan is concentrating its efforts in the united states. >> rose: so what was your argument to general motors? >> we can do much more together. we can share a lot of technology. we can share a lot of activities. but, you know, as long as we were not with the same... i would say enthusiasm. >> rose: this was almost the partnership you wanted. >> yes. >> rose: what kind of partnership? and who was going to run this combination? >> you don't need to run... >> rose: you don't need to have one c.e.o. in charge? >> no, you don't. you don't. each c.e.o. can manage his own company but you establish rules of sharing platforms, sharing engines, sring transmission, sharing everything that matters for consumer but it doesn't
matter who him who's doing that. that means you can have a... you have the renault engen from time to time in a nissan car. or you can have a nissan transmission into a renault car as long as the consumer of renault or nissan is happy with the performance, he doesn't care where the engine is coming from. >> rose: what's going to happen to general motors? >> oh, it's a very difficult question to answer, particularly for somebody who's completely against the company and is not involved into the evolution. >> rose: they've begun to talk about paying back some of the money. >> sure. >> rose: so have they passed the... have they turned the corner of survival? >> i think so. >> rose: you do. will they be great again? >> jury's still out, you know. you have to watch. nobody can tell you... i can not tell you if renault nissan in ten years down the road is going to be a great company. we're going to have to earn it on a daily basis, particularly in our industry where competition is so strong. so i don't think you can say,
you know, we're going to be great in one or two years down the road. you want to make sure that you continue to develop technology, put a lot of products on the market and keep your eyes on the ball. >> rose: you would know this now. you would know this. the impression is that american car companies were not creating the kinds of products that the market wanted. therefore, toyota and nissan and honda had a real opportunity to penetrate that... those markets. correct? >> correct. >> rose: how much of the problem was that and how much of it was simply the burden they had of being a health care company? >> well, you know, when you say... you put on the market a product which the market wants, it's not only about the concept, it's not only about engineering and technology, it's also about cost. it's about reliability and service. this is part of it. so if you are deficient on one of them, you're in trouble. >> rose: but the argument was made by general motors executives, look, they would say... they would say the following. the reason we're creating all
these... ford motor company would say f-150 trucks and the reason general motors is creating trucks and s.u.v.s was because that's what the consumer wanted. that's what they were saying. and then the other people were saying well, they had no understanding of the market and how the market was becoming more fuel efficient. and therefe they let toyota come right in and create the prius which began to find its own market share. >> rose: yeah. well, you know, i think you have a lot of companies who have... who are very successful in the united states and who don't have a hybrid. and you have a lot of companies... >> rose: but they're all building a hybrid now. >> everybody's building a hybrid. but still, the hybrid does not extend the performance of the company because hybrids represent to the worldwide less than 2% of the total sales. so i think we need to make sure that we understand exactly where the performance is coming from. and i don't think it's coming from one product or one technology. it's a lot of different performances that you have to line one near the other in order
to get success. >> rose: okay, so i'm not... if you say to me, off goal that by i think 2020 or... 2020 that 20% of your cars will be electric, correct? >> we're saying total market will be at 10% of electric cars. and obviously hopefully our share of this will be much bigger. electric cars. >> rose: now, will there still be high-performance cars? will there still be s.u.v.s? >> absolutely no limit to where electric cars can go. obviously when you're starting with a new technology, you're going to put writ it matters the most. so we are coming with the family car like the leaf, five seaters, you know, family car. then we'll go to commercial, then city car, then you go to luxury. you may go to performance. there is no limit to what the technology can do. the electric cars technology can do. >> rose: in terms of anything that cars do today they can do. whether it's heavy... >> there's no limit. >> rose: what could accelerate the development of the electric
car? >> well, this is going to depend a lot on the consumers. we are, as you know, we're going to put our first mass marketed car into 2010 and we're starting in the united states and japan and we're bringing it at the same price than a gasoline engine car of the same size. so we're going to compete. we're going to be competing practically at the same price. and we're going to see what's the reaction of the consumer. we have already started to take orders on the... we opened one week ago. it's very promising. we have many, many people already saying we are interested into buying electric car. but you have to be patient to see what is... the experience. >> rose: give me the specifics of your electric car, the leaf. how many miles before it has to recharge? >> 100 miles. >> rose: how do you determine that? that nobody really drives... >> you have a standard circuit, there are standards in the world each country has standards and on the standards of the united
states it's going to be 100 miles. now, it's five seater. it's a very powerful car. that means you have an immediate torque. you have zero to 60 miles per hour in less than ten seconds. so it's not a golf cart. it's a real car with a real driving performance. it's affordable. and the battery is going to be at least a certain way. because we want to be able to renew the battery in function of the technology. >> rose: so you think that will be the model forever or just for the near future. >> no, for the near future. >> rose: because somebody will come along and develop a battery you don't lease. >> ourself also. we can come with a second generation of battery because we think the battery is going to get cheaper, smaller, lighter with the different waves of technology we're going to be bringing. >> rose: who's doing the most advanced work on batteries? is it in south korea? japan? the united states? >> well, the technology today,
the most developed technology is between japan, korea, china. >> rose: japan, korea, china. >> exactly. you have u.s. compani starting to take it very seriously and investing seriously in the battery and i have no doubt that you're going to have a couple of big battery makers in the united states. you have some in china. you ha japan and korea. this is where the development of battery is going to take place. >> rose: the chinese say they'll have the largest electric car... they'll lead the way in developing electric cars. you think that's a realistic... >> you know... >> rose:... possibility? >> for the moment it's not. it's not the case. what... you know, the leading... >> rose: you can't gear up that fast? >> no, we cannot. because you know very well when the chinese decide to do something and put their resources, they can get results very quickly. >> rose: (laughs) yeah. finally this about you and management and leadership. tell me what your style is, management. >> well, is very difficult for
somebody to define his own style. >> rose: what do principles that guide you in terms of leading an industrial organization? >> the principle is that... it's the principle of clarity of management. that means the priority has to be clear, the vision has to be clear. >> rose: and only the c.e.o. can articulate it? >> no, the c.e.o. has to be surrounded by people who help him articulate the strategies, the vision, the priorities, et cetera. but he has to be the spokesperson who is going to exmine from the organization why we're making in choice and not the other one, why we're choosing this priority and not the other one and what is the prize behind it. why we're going into this direction. now, so he's the person who in a certain way is going to have... is ultimately responsible and accountable for the choices being made even though he's not the only one to produce them or to think about them or to brainstorm about them. there's a big team around it. >> rose: what is the profile of the modern executive look like for the future in a world in which we live in a global
economy and not only multilateralism... i mean multinational... all companies have to be global north to compete globally. but yours is interesting. i mean, you were born in brazil, raised in lebanon and went to college in france. that is the kind of profile we're looking at in order to have the skills to be an executive in the future. >> well, i'm not sure... i'm not sure... let me more talk about the mind-set. i think... i think what you're looking for are people who are open minded. >> rose: right. >> who are capable to understand different cultures. >> rose: i was going to say. >> crossing from one culture to the other. >> rose: and respect tm. >> respect them, obvious lift more than respect them, love them. >> rose: right. >> and then who are able to connect with people. who are able to connect. this sense of empathy is extremely important these days. so whatever you have somebody... and it can be somebody who has always been in the same culture but who has the facility to be
open minded and love different culture, empathetic and capable to understand, now you have a very strong leader. now it's easier to do that when you've been to a different country and to a different culture but it's not impossible to be like this even though you've been, you know, growing into one particular culture and living in one particular country. >> rose: great to meet you. thank you very much. carlos ghosn, renault, nissan. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: nix las christof and cheryl wudunn are here, they became the first married couple to win a pulitzer prize in journalism for their coverage in china as "new york times" correspondents, together they have written a book called "half the sky, turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide." i am pleased to have them both
at this table. welce. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for coming. to read your column and certainly to see it here is to know somehow that you got on this story. when did it start? >> it started when we were covering tianamen square, in fact, and there are hundreds of people who were killed there, it was front page news. but then we realized theext year, we came across a study indicating that every year 39 chinese baby girls were dying because they didn't have the same access to food and health care as boys. every year 39,000. and we had never given that a column inch. so that opened our eyes to the possibility of human right ace abuses on a much larger scale that we weren't covering and when we looked, in fact, there are between 60 and a hundred million women missing on the planet because of discrimination. we always think they're more... we always think there are more females than males in the world and in the u.s. there are.
worldwide there are more males than females because of this kind of lethal discrimination. >> rose: and so you then... it became a journalistic interest and a story that you thought you had to pursue? >> it became a prism through which to look at the world. and then on... and it really felt as if the paramount moral challenge for this century has to be that kind of discrimination that kills 60 million people. but then really on top of that, sheryl and i came to see that if you want to fight poverty, if you want to fight extremism, then the most effective way to do that is to educate girls, give them skills, bring them into the formal labor force and whether in china and bangladesh and other countries that has been the way to really develop economies and to make societies work better. >> rose: you couldn't a wouldn't imagine writing this book 20 years ago? >> not at all. who ever wants to write about these kind of soft issues? i mean, the order of the day
back when we were reporting in china was about the crackdown, the military crackdown in tianamen. but we started realizing that, you know, soft power isn't just soft power. it actually gives you dividends. so if you look at china, for instance, m grandmother's feet were bound. in three generations, look at me. well, i'm so glad my feet aren't bound, but we've just come such a long way. and that's because what china did was they not only educate it had people, they said "everybody can get educated, including girls." but then they also said "girls can come... women can come into the official labor force, into the formal labor force." and that was key. so that the clothe wes wear now and the shirts and the bags that we carry and the shoes that we walk on, these are all stitched by women in factories. and because they were in those factory jobs, they had an income and they sent their money back to the villages. their status just goes way up. that changes the entire dynamics of the household. >> rose: status d confidence
and self-esteem and the way they see the rest of their life? >> and then also it contributes monetaryly to the economy at every level of going up through the national economy. >> rose: tell me more about infant mortality in china and what you discovered. >> well, partly because of a strong male preference, a strong son preference, and partly because of the arrival of ultrasound machine which is enable a couple to tell whether a woman is carrying a boy or rl and abort a female fetus, there is a huge disparity. there are about 18% more boys being born in china than girls. >> rose: now is china now beginning to realize that this is a problem? >> people certainly realize it's a problem for the nation. any given couple, though, in many cases still want a son and this is also true in india. there's some evidence that when a country truly becomes substantially more educated and wealthier-- and south korea is the best example of that-- then it begins to reverse. so south korea has a very strong son preference. now, in fact, that is evening
out. but it's going to take a while. >> but also in the cities in china it is changing. the cities now there's less preference for boys. i mean, nowadays the saying is that if you have a girl, she'll actually take care of you when you're old whereas your son won't. >> rose: so there's now a preference? >> well, it's a justification for having girls. now it's basically equal. people aren't... there's no preference for boys. >> rose: and how has the government changed its sort message? >> in terms of the one-child policy? >> rose: right. >> it still exists. certainly the countryside-- and it's been like this for a number of years-- they do allow two children if the first is a girl. so there is this implicit recognition that there's favetism towards boys. >> rose: china has a huge demographic problem, doesn't it? >> yes, it does. it's aging very quickly. partly because it has put controls on the number of kids born. >> rose: there's an interesting thing you both say which is that the media is good at looking at events that happened on a certain day but not good at
looking at events that happen everyday. a >> that's right. that was, again, one of the impulses in writing this that if there is something that happens on a particular day then we'll put it on the front page, it will be on the evening news and that is what we're best at. what we're worst at is coving things that happen everyday. and that can be people dying of ma lair yashgs it can be maternal mortality. woman one dies a minute. i think five jumbo jets worth of women are dying everyday. and yet we never cover that. and so i do think we need the news media need to think more creatively about how to inform people that are just part of the backdrop that do happen everyday and "half the sky" is a bit of an attempt to do that. >> rose: this is a series of personal stories. >> we do talk a lot about the women because, frankly, what really sings is what some of these women have done. they've gone from tragedy to triumph. take the case, for instance, of
this woman named sima. she was beaten everyday by her husband who was not employed and so he would take his anger out on her. she had two girls so, of course, that made it even worse. and her in-laws told their son "why don't you take another wife because this one is never going to bear you a son." well, it just so happened that at that time there was a microfinancing organization in town and sima took out a $65 loan and started an embroidery business. she was actually quite good at embroidery. she created a company, actually, the merchants kept demanding her embroidery, she started employing other women. she's now employing her husband. no one talks about... >> rose: i like this story. >> no one talks about beating sima anymore. >> rose: they need sima. >> that's right. and they don't talk about taking another wife. >> rose: what do you hope this will accomplish? what's the message here other than awareness? >> we... beyond awareness what
we would ideally like to see-- and it sounds grand eloquent to say-- but reay a social movement. we started a web site, halftheskymovement.org. and the idea is the way you bring about real social change is not just with top down laws with officials changing things but it's by changing attitudes. >> rose: the civil rights movement. >> would be a great example. the abolitionist movement, the environmental movement. these things really depend on change consciousness. >> rose: so what's the mission statement of the movement? >> that women need to be treated equally and given opportunities and that this is not just an issue of justice, this is an issue of using economic resources. and the best... very practical matter, quite aside from justice. but that if you want to fight poverty, if you want to fight extremism, if you want to make the best use of your resources, then you need to educate and
empower women. >> rose: is it mostly directed to underdeveloped countries? >> and also to americans we who are trying to make a difference in other worlds. ultimately this has to be a partnership between well-meaning americans and... i think americans do... would like to help but so often they're discouraged by corruption, by a sense of just a, bureaucracy and the concerns are legitimate. helping people is harder than it looks. but, in fact, there are ways one can make a measurable impact. >> rose: and we actually think that each individual, every american, ordinary people, can make a difference. it doesn't have to be done through the aid organizations. we kind of write about a do it yourself foreign aid kit where you can build a relationship with a woman in pakistan through some organizations. you can start up a relationship and help finance her. maybe just with $10 a month, $20 a month, yo can actually lend her that money if you don't want to give it away.
there's many things people can do on very small levels. >> rose: it just seems to me that women have a recognition that notwithstanding how well they may be doing that there is a kind of discrimination that exists. >> rose: i think there are various levels of understanding and it goes along with how much education the women have. so, for instance, in some of these areas of pakistan and india, i think there's very... or cambodia, there's very little appreciation of how much they are discrimined against versus... >> rose: because of the culture? they see it as... >> they accept it. they think that's just the normal way of the culture. so a that's where the education component comes in because that's where... the only way that you're going to change a culture... it's a long-term process, but it's through education. >> ros what response do you get from the columns? because you use particular people and we've learned their stories and you come back to them. >> rose: right. well, i mean, it varies a lot. but in some cases it has been
just enormous. i wrote about a pakistani woman and people have donated i think more than $400,000 to help her. and it had a transformative affect in that part of the south punjab. and, you know, it's certainly been wonderful for people there, but i think at the end of the day our efforts to help other people often have a somewhat mixed record. but invariably we end up truly helping ourselves and our own efforts, we've built a school in cambodia. it's been so eye opening. >> rose: tell me about building a school in cambodia. >> well, we were kind of inspired by a bunch of kids who we write about in "half of the sky." kids in seattle who as a school project after 9/11 they went through an organization called "america assistance for cambodia" and they donated money to build a school in a remote part of cambodia. and i happened to visit that
area andound this school and i was really impressed. so then we decided with some of the advance, to do the same thing. >> rose: can i turn now to some political issues because of your experience? you were together in china? >> we were together. we married right before we went to china. >> rose: but you were both journalists. >> yes. >> rose: and today you see china how? having been at tianamen, having seen the evolution, where do you think they are having had the economic success that they have had beginning to come out of the sort of global economic... >> i tnk the government's managed the economy and the strains of the economy, i think, very well. they managed this crisis well, they've done extraordinarily good job, i think, of also dealing with environmental challenges, even granted that the environment is a huge mess. >> rose: and it made certain commitments to solar power and other things. wanted to be a world leader in those understanding it serves their interest to do it. >> rose: that's right.
but they have a couple huge problems that they're going to have to bridge in the coming years. one is simply the various minorityettes any tease. we've been seeing tibetans and uighurs, for example, partly because they have new technologies, because they're richer, because they're more educated empowered to protest against the central government. and more broadly, the whole economic model that has driven e boom in china is based on low-wage manufacturing. and then they really need... that model isn't going to take them that much farther. wages are rising as sheryl said the aging of the population makes a difference. >> rose: and people are raising another issue now. with china looks like it's almost leading the world coming out of the economic recovery, they're asking is this simply because of a $530 billion stimulus or are they generating sort of growth businesses that will in a sense meet a domestic need and not be dependent on exports? >> well, it's both. because their stimulus, what was amazing was they got it working through the system to actually support the economy.
>> rose: quickly. >> but they have other challenges, too. they need to increase consumption. right now consumption is a tiny portion of overall national spending partly because people are worried. there's no social security net. there's no health care safety net. so they save. and they save for that rainy day and for the possibility that they will become very sick as the society ages. >> rose: but the government also wants to create a consumption society so that there will be a demand for chinese products. >> right. right. absolutely. >> rose: so they won't be dependent on an export market. >> that's very true. so they need to create mechanisms such as a social security net so that that would allow their people to spend more. >> rose: what's been the impact in china of the openness around the world coming from technology? >> well, i mean, there's always a cat-and-mouse game in terms of them trying to restrain what comes in on the internet and they have incredible controls
over what information can be passed through the internet. >> i'm always struck that june 4 is the anniversary of june 41989 when the sweet massacre happened. ... tianamen square massacre happened. so 6-4 is the code. so the government sensors neigh has 6-4 in it. you can't send it. you can't use the date june 4. so chinese very shrewdly began to use may 35. and everybody knew what they were talking about. i mean... >> rose: that's great. >> i've been experimenting over the years with blogging in chinese, starting chinese blogs toee what will be censered, what isn't. i truly there this is an expanded area in which people can express their ideas, can evade the sensors. and it doesn't work perfectly. it's certainly not a free society. but there is more room than there used to be. >> rose: let me turn to afghanistan. where do you think we are in
termof afghan policy and in terms of afghanistan on the ground. >> i think... i mean, my trips to afghanistan might... my conversations with pashtuns make me think is you send more troops into the pashtun areas in the south then we are handing a gift to the taliban. more troops won't secure the pashtun areas. they will simply make the pashtuns think the taliban is right, there t infidels are coming. i think we have this view in this country of people in those areas as either ing taliban or anti-taliban. and most pashtuns aren't. they think the pashtuns... they think taliban are these lecturers who are always telling people what to do or just... you know, also too violent. they don't really like them. but they also don't really like the americans. and the heavier footprint we have in the south and in the southeast i think creates more antipathy toward us.
>> rose: so what should we do? >> well, i think that's where you have soft power. smart power. i mean, you really go through education. that's why "half the sky" raises these issues that education is so important to changing cultural attitudes. and that's what needs to happen. education of girls. which can be a force for stabilization as girls go through the education system and they raise their families in a different way. they raise their boys in a different way. >> rose: but, i mean, doesn't the female population fear the return of the taliban? >> certainly they fear the return of it. but that doesn't mean that you also can't at the same time use soft power as well as strong military power. i mean, i think it has to be an integrated approach. >> rose: at the end of the day, most of the conversation is suggested we should either pull out or double down. i think that's a mission stake. i don't think we should do either. i think we should continue to maintain our existing force that we need to hold on to kandahar, for example, but we don't need
hold on to all of kandahar province. we don't have the force to retain... to control all the rural areas. soviets sent a total of 620,000 troops over their time afghanistan and, you know, they couldn't do it. we're not going to be able to with any kind of number of troops available to us really control the rural areas in the south. and it would be a mistake to try. >> rose: and how severe is the corruption in the government? >> you go through kabul and you see these extraordinary houses which are all financed with drug money. and these are the houses of people who have worked in the government. the corruption is a huge irritant and it's one of the reasons those pashtuns are so resentful of the karzai government. and they... as i said, they don't like the taliban but they do think that the taliban at least are not personally corrupt. it's a huge challenge for us.
>> rose: five years from now, where do you think afghanistan will be? >> i don't think that the taliban will defeat... will overthroe the government, the central government. and i don't think that the central government will fully control rural areas in the pashtun areas. >> rose: but mcchrystal has said we're losing the war. or people around him have said that. they later tried to sort of modify the statement, but the essence was still there. >> rose: and it's true. but the... i mean, i think it's unlike they the taliban wou full kandahar and just about impossible that they would seize kabul. the north, i think, will remain in pretty good hands. but my fear is that there will be this instinctive desire to send in more troops, heavier military footprint and that, you know, some combination of keeping our existing footprint and using education,
agricultural reforms. >> re: my sense is the u.s. government is aware of that in terms of the interviews i do, people like admiral mullen and others. they have a strong sense of the impact of governance. >> yes. >> rose: and whether they'll achieve it and make the changes necessary or to encourage the changes is another thing. >> i mean, mike you willen is quite extraordinary in which he understands the importance of girls education, for example. in some ways the military has actually gotten these issues better than state department. the military commanders are out in the field. >> they see it. that's why they know. they know you've got... education is the way to change attitudes. they're not going to change without it. >> rose: finally the. the state department and secretary clinton has a woman in n charge of... >> global issues for women, yes. >> rose: what is the mission of her office? >> i think it's very actually promoting the rights of women and girls abroad and to see how
the state department... how the u.s. can actually help with that agenda. and i think they actually can do a lot. >> rose: and do you think that they will be successful? that they will be able to will secretary clinton's strong emphasis aassume, receptivity by president obama? >> i think they can do a lot and they will be successful. there are fact that secretary clinton went to the eastern congo, to goma to highlight these issues... >> rose: that sends a message. >> that's the rape capital of the world. >> rose: "half the sky: turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide." nick kristof and sheryl wudunn, thank you so much. >> it's a pleasure. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org